CSquared, a pan-African broadband infrastructure provider, has urged Africa’s public and private sectors to boost access to affordable broadband internet connectivity.
The company, which enables internet services providers (ISPS) and mobile network operators (MNOs) to provide high quality broadband through shared infrastructure, has spelt out its priorities that are destined to shape Africa’s digital future.
Top among the firm’s priorities is ‘Fiberising’ Africa by merging technologies that will allow the continent’s youth to gain digital literacy.
CSquared, which currently operates fiber infrastructure in Uganda, Ghana, and Liberia, believes that the move will trigger an era of technological advancement that will push the continent’s youth into a digital revolution.
Speaking recently in Monrovia, Liberia, CSquared’s newly-appointed Group CEO, Lanre Kolade said Africa would experience digital revolution if both the private sector and policymakers work together to empower and tap into African huge youth‘s potential.
“Now more than ever, there is a dire need to have broadband that would bring internet to everyone, thus making available such revolutionary technologies as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to spur efficiency in our digital infrastructure, thus digitizing education, health care, agriculture and other sectors,” said Kolade.
According to a report from research group, Internet World Stats internet penetration in Africa stood at 35.2% at the end of 2017, as opposed to the world average of 58.4 % in the rest of the world. This disparity underscores the urgency in which drastic measures should be undertaken to bridge the gap.
As such Kolade believes that providing fibre internet access in Africa is about creating value by changing the way Africa perceives the Internet.
“The continent should transition from being just consumers of the internet and move to the extra mile of generating its own local content,” he explained.
He singled out the example of African data centers, which can harbor the continent’s ‘library’, enabling efficiency in internet exchange among African countries.
“CSquared envisages a situation where African internet exchange doesn’t have to go to Europe before it cascades back to Africa”, said Kolade, noting that localized content will mean reduction of costs thus easy accessibility of data in the continent.
Kolade added that fiberising Africa is about empowering the people and the continent to carry the right kind of data that ensures ease of doing business, enhancing e-commerce and creating other value chains that impact people’s livelihoods.
He challenged African governments to appreciate the significant role played by ICT in the development of the continent. Kolade decried Africa’s ‘archaic’ intellectual property rights laws that had derailed the continent’s technological progress through redundant regulations, strongly advising that such policies be reviewed to fast-track Africa’s evident bright digital future.
“Africa is the next frontier, and it will take collaborative efforts from the private and public sectors to get rid of bottlenecks that stand in the way of our continent’s glory.”